Jeb: No, I wouldn't end DACA. Why do you ask?

I had been under the impression that the Iowa AG summit yesterday was supposed to be all about farming, ethanol and subsidies, but apparently everything was on the table. According to Joel Gehrke at National Review, some wag had the nerve to spoil everyone’s corn loving good time and ask Jeb Bush about immigration policy, specifically Barack Obama’s DACA program. So, if Jeb were to take the big chair in the Oval Office in January of 2017, he’d be getting rid of it, right?

Former Governor Jeb Bush (R., Fla.) told an illegal immigration activist that he would not end the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program that President Obama created in 2012, emphasizing that he thought it needed to be ratified by Congress rather than by executive order.

Bush compared Obama to a “Latin American dictator” for creating the program unilaterally. “[T]he program for the DREAMers,” he told an activist, per Bloomberg, who would have qualified for the DREAM Act benefits if the bill had passed into law. “No. Let’s give them priority to be citizens. But by the law, not by decree, because that’s like a Latin American dictator.”

Bush made the comment after being asked if he would “take away all our opportunities” by the activist. He explained that he wants to “pass a law so there’s permanence. What DACA does is it’s only for two years, no more. The problem continues after that.”

Rather than just slamming my head down on my desk as usual, I guess I should try to find the bright side of this story. With that in mind, I suppose that consistency has a certain virtue of its own. (That’s leaving aside for the moment Emerson’s warning about a foolish consistencies and hobgoblins.) If you support amnesty and that’s the plan you will take forward into your electoral efforts, you may as well be honest about it. But I remain puzzled how Jeb hasn’t evolved a bit on the subject. We just finished one of the more successful GOP election cycles in recent memory and it’s difficult to imagine anyone – particularly a Republican – not seeing a substantial mandate from the people to oppose amnesty. We’re not just talking about the primary here, where it will probably be toxic to poisonous levels, but in the general election as well. Why should we offer up two candidates with the same position on this issue?

Meanwhile, Scott Walker was getting hit with the same question. He may have flubbed the Renewable Fuel Standard and ethanol subsidy question, but he clearly seemed on more solid footing here.

Governor Scott Walker (R., Wis.) signaled a willingness to challenge potential presidential rivals over immigration policy, saying that, unlike some, he opposes amnesty,

“I’m not a supporter of amnesty — I know there’s some out there [who do], and I respect their views on that — but I’m not a supporter of amnesty,” Walker said. “What I do believe going forward is that we’ve got to have a legal immigration system to this country that works.” Walker said that that the H2A visa program for foreign agricultural workers needs to be simplified.

It wasn’t a great weekend for most of the candidates (with Ted Cruz being the exception) but Walker wins back a few points for himself with that one. If nothing else, the field is beginning to come into focus and careful primary voters are getting an early chance to put the players through their paces. If the debates turn out as well as hoped, with Reince cracking the whip on the liberal media, we might just have an adult conversation and a chance to evaluate all of these folks fairly. The event in Iowa got us off to a good start and I hope there are more chances such as this in the near future.